Movie Review: Captain Marvel

We have been spoiled, my friends. Spoiled by an overabundance of great superhero movies. Now, I don’t mean literally great, as in “movies that are great movies.” I reserve that description for actually great movies. (What would I put in there? Things like Chariots of Fire, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Groundhog Day, Star Wars, or The Shawshank Redemption. Movies that are fantastic in and of themselves, or important in the greater scheme of things by their influence.)

Most Marvel movies, by that definition, aren’t “great.” You could make the argument for the first Iron Man, simply by what it launched. You could do the same for the first Avengers movie, for what it pulled off. But when I say we’ve been spoiled by an overabundance of great superhero movies, what I mean by that is that there is this steady stream of spectacle coming forth from Marvel (for the most part). Movies that are eminently entertaining first and foremost.

Marvel has its formula down cold by this point. Lots of spectacle and a fair bit of humor. Characters there are plucky and want to overcome the odds. When I watched Captain Marvel, the most significant difference between it and the other movies that had preceded it in the Marvel canon was the fact that the main character was a woman. And while that’s a significant change (more so because of how many people kept somehow insisting that wouldn’t be commercial, which will hopefully now be put to rest, since it’s topped $1 billion world wide), it doesn’t really change the formula itself all that much.

Which leads me to ask, “Is that a bad thing?”

In a way, it’s the same problem Pixar suffered, where all of its movies were just spectacular, until it got to the point that people were criticizing them for all being the same. That said, I know some people just are tired of the formula by this point. There’s only so much of the same recipe they can stomach, and so they’re ready for new things.

Clearly I don’t suffer from the need for continual newness, since I eat the same breakfast and lunch practically every day. When it comes to film, I appreciate novelty, sure, but I have yet to reach saturation point with the Marvel formula. I enjoy seeing the greater plot unfold over time, looking for connections between all those many different movies. And I like seeing the good guys win.

Captain Marvel was a great movie, from an entertainment standpoint. Was it unique or compelling, setting itself apart from the movies that came before it? No. Not really. But I still gave it a 7.5/10, just for the entertainment alone. In many ways, Marvel movies remind me of gymnastics routines. They have the elements they know they want to include, and they execute those elements with aplomb.

By now, you either know if you like watching gymnastics or not, you know what I mean?

I’m excited for the new Avengers movie coming up. I already have my tickets, and we just rewatched Infinity War on Saturday. Watching Captain Marvel was the other thing I needed to do to be totally prepped. I’m good now.

I tend to think Marvel’s going to have to start branching out eventually, and I wonder if that will happen after the end of Phase 3, which concludes with Spiderman Far from Home, apparently. We’ll see. But for now, count me in with the happy masses, munching my popcorn and enjoying the spectacle.


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